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Facing and Planning For Outages


Nobody likes an outage. Over the last twenty years, the Internet has gone from something that almost nobody knew about to something almost everybody relies on every day for business operations. As a provider of virtual hosting, cloud hosting of virtual machines, email, DNS and related services, 111 Web Studio knows about this subject first hand. And, although cloud service providers pride themselves in uptime and customer service, outages do happen to all of them regardless of the size or sophistication of the provider. As more and more people rely on cloud services, outages can have a larger impact on business continuity. The list of outages below is from a review of recent headlines.

So what does this mean for a business that counts on cloud services for day-to-day operations? There are a few realities that must be faced. First, the list below shows us that outages aren't new or uncommon. Secondly, while providers learn and improve after each fault, the pace of change of technology suggests that outages will never go away completely. Lastly, the size of the provider won't protect you from outages. So the bottom line is that risks are there and businesses must face this reality and decide what, if anything to do about it. Options range from full redundancy to backup for disaster recovery to doing nothing.

Full Redundancy

Full redundancy may not be possible if you use a particular SaaS online service because there is only one provider. If you have your own cloud server, however, you can consider whether the cost of a second live location with automatic failover is worth the expense. This is a complex and costly solution and there is always some surprise that can cause a failure somewhere along the way, so even it may not be a totally foolproof solution. However, despite the cost, it is the most reliable of the options available. 

Backup for Disaster Recovery

Having a backup for disaster recovery is another option. There are several ways to go here. If your primary is local, the backup can be in the cloud or if your primary is in the cloud, it can be local or at a second cloud provider. Frequency of backing up will depend on the frequency of changes you make and turnover of your data. Then when a failure happens, you can decide if the time required to flip the switch and potential loss of data not yet backed up is worth moving to the failover systems.

Accepting & Planning For Outages

Lastly, you can build in outages as an unlikely but expected occurrence. As time goes on, cloud service providers do improve services and each new outage teaches a needed lesson, so doing nothing and just taking the hit when it happens is certainly a reasonable option. Depending on your business, you may even be able to mitigate reliance on 100% uptime in the cloud by using it for data storage and local hardware for processing. 

Regardless of which one is right for you, facing reality and knowing your options are important first steps in understanding business continuity and making the right decision for you. If you would like to discuss these options in more detail, please call us at 877.397.7605 or contact 111 Web Studio.

Recent Outage List

9/28 - Facebook disappears for two hours, the second outage in a week
9/25 - Facebook goes down for the third time in a year
9/21 - Skype is down for UK, AU and Japan for 15 hours due to a configuration issue
9/20 - Much of Amazon's AWS went belly up for 6 hours effecting Netflix, Tinder, IMDB, AirBnB and others
9/18 - ISP EE loses email service for 24 hours for thousands of customers
9/13 - disappears for a few hours
9/10 - Plusnet is down for several hours
8/30 - Dropbox suffered a major worldwide outage
8/27 - Google Cloud has nine hour outage
8/25 - Cloud provider C4L enjoys a two day outage
8/21 - Logmein goes offline for a day
8/21 - TalkTalk goes down for several hours
8/19 - Google Cloud loses data for customers across Europe
8/12 - CloudFlare problem cause outages across the Internet for an afternoon
8/6 - Microsoft 365 goes down for 13 hours for some customers
8/2 - BT's sports website and app depart for the afternoon
7/29 - BT's voice and data have a substantial outage across the UK
7/21 - Apple's iTunes, Music, App Stores, iCloud, Radio and iBooks are out for over 3 hours
7/19 - SourceForge experiences a days long outage
7/8 - NYSE halts trading for technical reasons
7/3 - Microsoft Asure leaves Australia for seven hours
7/3 - Vectron Mobile is offline for a week
6/24 - Verizon outage effects East Coast for half a day
6/19 - Google experiences three service interruptions this week
6/12 - ISP Level3 experiences a routing problem that ripples across the globe for several hours
6/9 - UK Drivers license site goes off line for an extended period
6/5 - Webhost Freeparking web and email go offline for a week
5/26 - ISP O2 goes offline for 5 hours
5/14 - 1 year anniversary of Adobe Creative Cloud being offline for an entire day
4/25 - Yahoo! email suffers an hours long outage for entire UK
4/21 - ISP Tesco goes offline for the afternoon
4/20 - Banking apps for Natwest and RBS go offline losing 600,000 transactions
4/17 - Bloomberg postpones bond issue as terminals crash 
4/14 - Google experiences 5th outage in a week for cloud services
4/8 - FCC fines Centurylink and Verizon six hour outage effecting 11 million people in seven states
4/1 - Virgin Media broadband goes offline for several hours
4/1 - Halifax online banking down for the fourth time in four weeks
3/14 - BBC websites go offline for several hours
3/11 - Apple's app store and iTunes stores go down for ten hours
3/9 - Registrar eNom goes down for over half a day
3/9 - AVG's entire data center goes offline for several hours
2/28 - Samsung and Sony smart TVs go dumb for two days
2/20 - Google's Cloud Engine goes offline for over two hours
2/15 - Amazon goes offline across Europe for several hours
2/12 - Dutch government goes offline for 10 hours
2/4 - Netflix goes offline worldwide for over an hour
2/3 - National Lottery website in UK goes offline twice in a week
1/27 - Facebook, Instagram and Tinder all offline for about an hour
1/22 - ISP EE has nationwide UK outage for the morning
1/15 - ISP Demon Internet goes down for half a day
1/11 - Verizon experiences 40 hour outage
1/6 - Twitter has its second major outage in a week
1/3 - Microsoft causes outages for Bing, Yahoo, Hotmail and Office 365
1/3 - Sony Playstation Network outage lasts several days
12/30 - Gmail goes dark in China for 4 days
12/27 - North Korea's entire Internet service goes dark
12/18 - Microsoft explains overnight Azure outage in November

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